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West Ham v Stoke

Filed: Tuesday, 17th April 2018
By: Ten Thousand Miles From The Boleyn

Such is my confidence we will win tonight and avoid relegation I am already obsessed with what the squad will look like come August. But is this just a case of denial and displacement on my part?

Let me check with my Virtual Therapist and get back to you... Yes it is.

I never really had a problem with Stoke until I discovered that The Potters' nickname is highly misleading. I'm sure we all presumed it was similar to The Hammers insofar as it referred to their humble beginnings as a team formed by a group of pals who earned an honest crust grafting away in the ceramics industry.

But no; it turns out it was created as an amusing diversion by a collection of toffs from Charterhouse School and were originally known as the "Ramblers". Thus I now treat 'Potters' as a verb rather than a noun; v. to move with little energy or direction. And for a team that looks like they are destined for the drop I think it sums them up nicely.

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-2 Minutes: I was hoping for a more attacking lineup against this lot, maybe Fernandez is getting a chance to redeem himself? But as they say north of the border "If tis functioning adequately dinnae fash effecting repairs... Dae ye ken?"

I live ten thousand miles from the Boleyn. So what do I know about anything?

I do know that I absolutely despise the summer transfer window, and it has nothing to do with the fact it happens during the winter down here. It's also not because of the idiotic rumour mill that grinds away for weeks on end, fed by hopper-loads of self-serving tidbits leaked by playerís families, friends and agents or the baseless husks of unattributed wishful thinking bollocks churned out by tabloids designed to lure unsuspecting punters to a webpage filled with salacious click bait!

No, it's because I'm totally incapable of ignoring it no matter how hard I try! And as an aside, I don't know who the "Scientists" were who claimed a giant asteroid was going to hit the earth last week but their calculations were well off

2 Minutes: Looks like Fernandez has picked up where he left off last time. Pretty good going forward, loses the ball then ambles back...

I won't know what Moyes really thinks of the current squad until he gets a decent opportunity to make changes but It's clear he favours a muscular approach to the game. I know the Tiki-taka style is popular with some but when I see less than stellar sides having a go it looks more like they are clueless going forward and desperately trying to avoid running around too much.

11 Minutes: The first sign of some sloppy defending that luckily only resulted in a weak effort that Hart handled well. They can knock that on the head right now.

I am also convinced that if Moyes can get a few more players with the attitude shown by Marko Arnautovic we will both be very happy. He strikes me as a genuine example of an old school player and it wouldn't surprise me to hear at halftime he enjoys a bag of chips and a Capstan Full Strength.

I've even seen him run off an injury for Christ's sake, who does that any more? Although I suppose he could be faking it as a way of screwing with the oppositions heads and if that is the case... I love him even more!

22 Minutes: Started to lose some momentum, as Pater would have said "They need a squib up their arse!"

My current infatuation with Arnie has brought to mind my only visit to mid-eighties celebrity nightspot Stringfellows. I had originally thought the highlight of the evening would be spotting The Beastie Boys lurking in a corner wearing expressions that screamed "What the fuck are we doing here?

But no, I later spied a familiar looking figure standing at the bar; fake tan, white shoes and permed peroxide blonde hair... that's right; Frank McAvennie.

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35 Minutes: The squibs have been effective, let's keep this up.

For a moment I thought I must be mistaken, surely no professional footballer would be out at 1am on a Friday morning before the traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off?

My suspicions were however confirmed when he was joined at the bar by several teammates, one of whom I had the opportunity to speak to later when I engineered an opportunity to bump into him outside the khazi. His excuse for being there was that he was injured, although it clearly had no adverse effect on his thirst or his ability to get down like a big funky sex machine.

Half time: if it's still nil-all on the hour mark I want to see some changes. Lanzini and Hernandez at the very least.

I often hear complaints about the advanced age of the squad which I don't doubt is at the higher end of the Premier League scale, but If the rumours turn out to be true and we say goodbye to Evra, Collins, Adrian and Hart then by my calculations (bearing in mind I'm no mathematician) the average age will drop to about fourteen-and-a-half.

I also know Zabaleta is getting on but while he may lack the speed of a nippy winger ten years his junior, his maturity and knowledge is still invaluable, and although things have changed since the 80s, Bonzo was still reliably biting bums as a forty-year-old.

66 Minutes: Marko, Marko, Marko... what are you doing to me? The first offside goal was unlucky, that one was down to you! Shift your giant arse and get onside!

Hopefully during the next transfer window Moyes will be given the freedom to balls things up in his own way, but it will still be a challenge. Obviously if a team is doing well and looks like things are on the up you can attract good players without having to promise them your first born.

But that was us a couple of season ago and to get the same players now we will be forced to pay them a lot, on a long contract, and if they don't work out you can't get rid of the bastards because no one will meet their salary demands. You then create a wage structure that is guaranteed to irritate everyone else who now thinks they are underpaid and... oh, too late.

78 Minutes: I never want to see Joe Hart in goal again. If you spill it the very least you can do is get your head down and retrieve the poxy thing! Trying to kick it is piss-poor!

I expect rumours linking us with players from soon-to-be relegated teams will be coming thick and fast and hopefully Moysie will be more interested in the latter, but is it a worthwhile strategy?

While I know good players can find themselves in relegated sides; as we've proved ourselves enough times, I find it a bit too safe and lazy. We will then be linked to the highly talented but injury-prone, followed by the less talented but equally injury-prone and end up signing a talent-free hypochondriac.

89 Minutes: Finally. Plenty of sustained pressure and a lovely goal from Carroll. The next time someone tells me he's crap I'm going to tell them to fuck right off.

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I hope it doesn't sound like I'm having a dig at any players who suffer from regular injuries as they must hate being sidelined when they would love to be out on the park. I'm also not being dismissive of hypochondria but it's not something I've ever been plagued with, although I recently got up in the night to watch a match and for a moment was convinced I'd developed elephantiasis in my feet, imagine my relief when I discovered I was wearing my wife's slippers.

Final whistle: Moyes left it too late to make the necessary changes and we almost blew it. I've thought for a while that thirty five points will do it but it should have been settled tonight. Or I should say this morning as it's 6am and I have the whole day to stew on it.

But I still refuse to be too negative about the future as I'm hoping Moysie has a more attacking plan and the courage to implement it. Is five at the back here to stay or will it go the way of planking and condom snorting, is he terminally overcautious or has he been so desperate to avoid defeats he just keeps chucking more defenders at the problem? Does he want a Director of football appointed and will he be satisfied with a two year contract?

All pertinent questions, although if the mysterious rogue planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, is indeed on a collision course and will collide with Earth on September 23rd bringing world-ending tsunamis and earthquakes, they will prove to be inconsequential.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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